Compassion, sadness and love can be expressed quite effectively online—even when acted, they can seem quite authentic. The same cannot be said of anger. Onscreen, an expression of escalated displeasure and negative agitation almost always looks like a poorly acted play. This has to do with the frequent use of outbursts of anger online as a strategic means to build an image or intimidate others, especially by male social media users. Anger thus degenerates into a blunt platitude, captured in memes and GIFs.
In their latest video essay, Chloé Galibert-Laîné, a master of the genre they aptly call “desktop documentary,” explores how they can reclaim anger as a bona fide emotion in the online environment. They study gestures and words, who uses them and how, as well as how people respond to them. With a comic perspective, Galibert-Laîné concludes that authenticity is often an imitation of the accepted standard.